Tag: Washed Out

Over the past few years, I’ve written quite a bit about JOVM mainstay David Alexander, an internationally renowned, Swedish singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer, whose solo dream pop/electro pop project Summer Heart has received attention for a sound that draws from 80s synth pop in a way that’s been compared favorably to CaribouWashed OutIn Ghost Colours-era Cut CopyPainted Palms and others, and for being considered among the first wave of Sweden’s renowned contemporary electro pop and dream pop movement, which also includes MoonbabiesThe Land BelowHey ElbowBlind Lake and Emerald Park.

Alexander with his 12 Songs of Summer has added his name to an increasing list of artists, who have adopted a single of the month series, and as you can imagine doing so, manages to make a helluva lot of sense creatively, financially and marketing-wise in the blogosphere age. Creatively, the artist isn’t constrained by having to write material with a cohesive style or theme in mind, as they would be required to do in terms of writing for a full-length album; however, in order for the concept to work, they are required to come up with songs within strict and regularly occurring deadlines. Interestingly enough, the monthly song series manages to capture the emotional highs and lows of a year of the artist’s life in a way that can feel like an audio journal. Financially, artists who are struggling to find ways to fund their efforts recording and touring can split their costs over the course of a year, while stretching the recording process to a few days over the course of a year. And in the fickle blogosphere age, releasing a single every month can assure in some fashion that the blogosphere will pay attention to you and your work over the course of a year. As Alexander explains in press notes, “The idea behind this project is to show people what I am currently working on instead of what I was doing two years ago, which can be the case when you release an album. It’s definitely a way of challenging myself, thinking less and having more fun creating music!”

“Yeah You” is the second single of the 12 Songs of Summer series, and it finds Alexander leaning towards a thumping house meets In Ghost Colours-era Cut Copy-like production featuring arpeggiated synths, woofer and tweeter rocking beats and anthemic hook — and while being a rousing, crowd pleasing track that features Alexander’s ethereal vocals floating over the mix; but while being a club banger, the song possesses a plaintive ache over a dysfunctional and somewhat unrequited love affair while accepting it as an unchangeable part of the past that the song’s narrator will eventually move forward from. As Alexander says of the song, it’s “about feeling alive and having no regrets! It’s about trying to ignore the past since you can’t change. But most of all, it’s about having fun, living in the present.”

 

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Comprised of husband wife duo Aslyn and Kalen Nash, the Joshua Tree, CA-based synth pop duo DEGA features two accomplished, veteran musicians: Ashlyn had released two solo albums, Lemon Love through Capitol Records and The Dandelion Sessions through Lemonade Records, and she has a stint was a touring keyboardist and backing vocalist for Grammy nominated artist Kesha. Kalen Nash was guitarist and vocalist for Athens, GA-based indie rock act Ponderosa, a band that released their critically applauded, Joe Chiccarelli-produced album Midnight Revival, which was released through New West Records.

Unsurprisingly, the origins of the Nashes latest project can be traced back to 2008 when they first met and eventually fell in love — and although they married in 2011, they were so busy with their own respective musical projects, that they hadn’t seriously considered working together. Eventually, the loneliness of the road led the Nashes to consider a different path. “I remember a phone call when I was out with Kesha and Kalen was on tour with Ponderosa,” recalls Aslyn. “We were a country apart and hadn’t seen each other in months. I told him that we needed to start collaborating so, at the very least, we could see each other more often.”

Ashlyn and Kalen Nash formed DEGA with the idea that they could shed any and all of their preconceived notions about their previous work and freely explore new sounds and musical ideas — in this case anthemic, synth-based indie pop in which they merged their talents and ideas into a unique sound and approach. Now, as you may recall, the duo’s self-titled debut effort is slated for release later on this month through Lemonade Records, and the album reportedly is one of the most personal either has released to date as it focuses on the highs and lows of their lives together; in fact, album single “Phoenix” focuses on Asyln’s pregnancy and miscarriage during the recording sessions. With both Asyln and Kalen touring with their various projects, the duo would record whenever they were both in the same city and had free time, and as result, the album took two years to complete with sessions helmed by  Justin Loucks and Jon Ashley at various studios across the States.

Don’t Call It,” which I wrote about late last year was a carefully crafted yet urgent song that remind some quite a bit of Stevie Nicks’ “Stand Back,” St. Lucia, Washed Out and In Ghost Colours-era Cut Copy as layers of shimmering synths were paired with a sinuous bass line, African-inspired percussion and a soaring hook. The duo’s latest single “Mirrors” continues the 80s vibes of its predecessor — but in this case Purple Rain and 1999-era Prince, as well as A Flock of Seagulls as the song features some blistering guitar work paired with propulsive drumming, layers of shimmering and arpeggiated synths and a rousingly anthemic hook. And while being a remarkably slick, radio friendly track, it reveals some incredibly ambitious and earnest songwriting.

 

 

 

 

 

 

New Video: The Soaring 80s Inspired Pop Sounds and Visuals of Husband and Wife Duo DEGA

Comprised of husband wife duo Aslyn and Kalen Nash, the Joshua Tree, CA-based synth pop duo DEGA features two accomplished, veteran musicians: Ashlyn had released two solo albums — Lemon Love through Capitol Records and The Dandelion Sessions through Lemonade Records, as well as spending some time as a touring keyboardist and backing vocalist for Grammy nominated artist Kesha. Karen Nash was guitarist and vocalist for Athens, GA-based indie rock act Ponderosa, a band that released their critically applauded, Joe Chiccarelli-produced album Midnight Revival, which was released through renowned indie rock/roots rock label New West Records. Interestingly, the origins of the Nashes latest project can be traced back to 2008 when they first met — and although they got married in 2011, they were so busy with their own projects that they hadn’t really considered working together. Eventually, the loneliness of the road led the Nashes to consider a different path. “I remember a phone call when I was out with Kesha and Kalen was on tour with Ponderosa,” recalls Aslyn. “We were a country apart and hadn’t seen each other in months. I told him that we needed to start collaborating so, at the very least, we could see each other more often.”

The Nashes then formed DEGA with the idea that they could shed any of their preconceived notions about their previous work and freely explore new sounds — in this case, anthemic, synth-based indie pop in which they merged their talents and ideas into a unique sound and approach. Their forthcoming self-titled debut is slated for a February 23, 2018 release through Lemonade Records and the album reportedly is one of the most personal works either have released to date, as it focuses on their highs and the lows, as well as the love they have for each other; in fact, album single “Phoenix” focuses on Aslyn’s pregnancy and miscarriage during the recording sessions. With both Aslyn and Kalen touring, the duo would record whenever they were in the same city and had free time and although the album took two years to complete with sessions helmed by Justin Loucks and Jon Ashley at various studios across the States. 

The self-titled album’s latest single “Don’t Call It” is a an ethereal, 80s inspired synth pop confection reminiscent of Stevie Nicks’ “Stand Back,” St. Lucia, Washed Out and In Ghost Colours-era Cut Copy as layers of shimmering synths are paired with a sinuous bass line line, propulsive yet African-inspired percussion and a soaring hook. And while being slickly produced, the song possesses an urgent and swooning romanticism that belies a careful attention to craft. 

Directed by Scott Lansing, the recently released video for “Don’t Call It” consists of a fairly simple premise — the duo performing the song in a darkened room, in front of bright, lysergic lighting effects. 

New Video: Up-and-Coming, Swedish-born Producer SQRD Releases Swooning and Nostalgic Visuals for New Single “Would Run Wild”

With the release of his critically acclaimed 2016 EP Gold, the up-and-coming Swedish-born, electronic music producer and electronic music artist SQRD, who splits his time between Berlin and Stockholm received attention across Scandinavia and elsewhere for a sound that effortlessly blended lo-fi, analog electronics within textured and nuanced compositions. Interestingly, over the past few years, the up-and-coming producer has spent his time honing and refining his sound, and his latest single “Would Run Wild” finds the Swedish-born producer leaning towards an industrial-leaning production as layers of propulsive, arpeggiated synths, thumping beats and metallic clang and clatter and razor sharp yet infectious hook are paired with heavily vocodered vocals. While simultaneously nodding at classic, 80s synth pop (i.e., Depeche Mode), early hip-hop, and contemporary electro pop (i.e., Summer Heart, Washed Out and others), the song swoons with a nostalgic yearning for a past just out of reach. 

Directed by Kevin Vinh Doan, the trippy and gorgeously shot,recently released video for “Would Run Wild” follows a young woman, who’s longing for an urgent and passionate love, which ends with the presumed overdose of her lover. And throughout the video, she encounters lingering ghosts and memories within every single step. 

New Video: Introducing the Soaring and Anthemic Synth Pop of Up-and-Coming Italian Synthwave Act YOOP

Comprised of Luca Sammartini and Valentina Sicco, YOOP are an up-and-coming Vicenza, Italy-based synthwave/synth pop act, who released their full-length debut effort Take Shelter earlier this month, and with the release of slickly produced album single “Rainbow,” the duo’s sound that seems to draw influence from Tears for Fears and contemporaries like Moonbabies, St. Lucia and Washed Out, as they pair soaring and anthemic hooks with a production featuring shimmering arpeggiated synths, propulsive, tweeter and woofer rocking, industrial-like beats, a sinuous bass line and angular guitar chords — and while managing to be arena rock friendly and a club banger, the track possesses an aching yearning at its core.

The recently released video follows a dream-like logic in which a woman wakes up to find herself tied to a chair and as soon as she escapes, where she spends a dizzying period seeking something just out of her grasp through a series of rooms and staircases.

Rue Snider is a Brooklyn-based folk singer/songwriter, who since his debut in 2012 has developed a reputation for writing material with an unvarnished honesty, a relentless touring schedule of more than 100 shows a year, opening for the likes of Lydia Loveless, Squirrel Nut Zippers‘ Tom Maxwell, Superhuman Happiness, Benjamin Scheuer, Blue Healer, Donna Missal and The Silos‘ Walter Salas-Humara, and for collaborating with the likes of Jon Estes, who’s played with Ruby Amanfu and Steelism, Rubblebucket‘s David Cole, Derrek C. Philips and others. Adding to a growing profile, “Speak My Mind,” the EP title track of his most recent Andrija Tokic-produced EP, Speak My Mind was featured as song 80 of the politically charged, 1,000 Days, 1,000 Songs project.

Interestingly, Snider was impressed by Brooklyn-based producer and electronic music artist Brothertiger‘s re-imainging of Tears for FearsSongs from the Big Chair and asked  him to remix the EP’s sole love song, “Moving Me,” and Brothertiger turns the sparsely arranged, singer/songwriter ballad into a decidedly 80s synth pop-inspired track featuring shimmering arpeggiated synths and big, gated reverb-based beats over which Snider’s plaintive vocals float ethereally — and while further cementing the Brooklyn-based producer’s reputation for a sound that’s reminiscent of JOVM mainstays Washed Out and Moonbabies, Brothertigter retains the song’s swooning Romanticism and honesty.

 

 

 

 

 

The new single releasing November 3 is called “Moving Me (Brothertiger Remix).” The original version was part of a very political EP. We took the one love song from that package and had Brothertiger give it a chill wave makeover. Brothertiger’s reimagining of “Songs From the Big Chair” by Tears for Fears is what made us want to work with him.

 

 

 

 

 

New Video: JOVM Mainstay Summer Heart Returns with a Gorgeous and Symbolic Meditation on Time and Wisdom

JOVM mainstay David Alexander is an internationally renowned, Swedish singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer, whose solo, electro pop/dream pop recording project Summer Heart has received attention for a wistful and nostalgic sound that draws from  60s psych pop, 80s synth pop and lo-fi rock and has been compared favorably to the likes of  Caribou, Washed Out, In Ghost Colours-era Cut Copy, Painted Palms and others, and for being considered among the first wave of Sweden’s equally renowned electro pop and dream pop movement, which also includes Moonbabies, The Land Below, Hey Elbow, Blind Lake and Emerald Park.  

Alexander’s latest Summer Heart album, 101 was released last month, and as you may recall I’ve previously written about album single  “Hotel Beds,” a swooning yet buoyant production featuring shimmering synths, stuttering house music-like drum programming, boozy blasts of guitar, Alexander’s dreamy falsetto and a rousing hook within a dance floor friendly song. However, underneath the buoyant and summery vibes of the song is a bittersweet and weary rumination on the life of a touring musician. 

101’s latest single “Follow” continues on a similar path as its predecessor as the song features a house music-inspired production consisting of arpeggiated and shimmering synths, chiming, Afro-pop-like percussion, tweeter and woofer rocking beats and Alexander’s dreamy falsetto with a soaring hook. And much like its immediate predecessor, underneath the buoyant and summery vibe there’s more than meets the eye — in this case, the song’s narrator expresses a plaintive, desperately unresolved frustration. As Alexander explains in press notes. “To follow your dreams, you must figure out what they are. ‘Follow’ is about that  moment when you think you have it all figured to, only to realise you’re not one bit wiser. Those things you do, which you imagine will change everything . . . when all is said and done, afterwards you feel exactly the same.”

Directed by Kyle Macfadzean, the recently released video features expressive, contemporary choreography by Amy Kent and Laura Ava-Scott, and stars Grace Macfadzean and Angela Downs. Shot in an lushly cinematic fashion, the video makes a connection between the young woman and her older, seemingly wiser doppleganger, emphasizing the song’s central theme with a powerfully emotional yet surreal wallop

If you had come across this site last month, you may have come across a post featuring the Southern California-based indie septet Private Island. Comprised of Christian Lum, Michelle Guerrero, Tommy Nickerson, Tim Barbour, Roger Mawer and Cameron Anderson the members of the Southern California-based initially developed a reputation for crafting shimmering and anthemic indie rock. In fact, the early single “Drugs” charted rather highly on Hype Machine, as it received more than 3 million Spotify streams; however, with “Turbulence,” the first single off the septet’s forthcoming full-length effort Night Drive found the band retaining the shimmering quality of their sound but while leaning heavily towards R&B and synth pop — and in a fashion reminiscent of  St. Lucia, Washed Out and others but with a Quiet Storm-like vibe.

Night Drive‘s latest single “Juvenile” continues in a similar vein as its predecessor, as its slow-burning Quiet Storm meets 80s synth pop and synth funk but interestingly enough upon repeated listens reveals slick hyper modern and swaggering production as you’ll hear autotuned vocals paired with Lum’s sultry vocals, boom bap drums, shimmering synths paired with organic instrumentation and a soaring hook. And while being a two-step friendly bit of dance floor pop, the song also manages to be some of the band’s most ambitious songwriting to date, as the song possesses an arena rock sound.

 

 

 

 

David Alexander is a Swedish singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer, whose solo electro pop/dream pop recording project Summer Heart has received attention internationally for a wistful, nostalgic sound that draws from 60s psych pop, 80s synth pop and lo-fi rock and has been compared favorably to the likes of  CaribouWashed OutIn Ghost Colours-era Cut CopyPainted Palms and others. Now, if you’ve been frequenting this site over the past couple of years, you may recall that that Alexander’s profile has grown as a result of several songs being featured in TV series such as the NBC series, Whitney, which brought him and his work to the attention of millions of American TV viewers. Along with that, Alexander is largely considered to be among the first wave of Sweden’s internationally renowned and growing indie pop and dream pop scene — a scene the includes a number of internationally recognized acts that I’ve written about at some point or another, including MoonbabiesThe Land BelowHey ElbowBlind Lake and Emerald Park.

Up until last month, some time had passed since i had written about Alexander and Summer Heart, but as it turns out, the Malmo, Sweden-based dream pop artist had been busy writing and recording the material that would comprise his forthcoming full-length effort 101. “Hotel Beds,” the single I wrote about last month further cemented the Swedish dream pop pioneer’s reputation for crafting swooning yet buoyant and summery productions — in this case featuring shimmering synths, muttering house music-like drum programming, boozy blasts of guitar and Alexander’s laconic falsetto and a rousing hook with a dance floor-friendly vibe; however, underneath the buoyant and breezy pop stylings is a bittersweet rumination on the life of a touring musician. And in a extremely subtle fashion, the song evokes the sensation of rushing off from place to place, without ever really getting to know a town beyond the fact that you have to be there by a specific day or time. “‘Hotel Beds’ is about touring, going from city to city, hotel bed to hotel bed. About meeting new people every night. It’s about a feeling of being detached from reality,” Alexander explained in press notes. “Don’t get me wrong. I love to tour but after a while, it becomes a big blur . . . the lyrics were written in the back of a tour bus. It was recorded in Stockholm, mixed in Brooklyn and mastered in Jersey City.”

101‘s latest single “Follow” continues in a similar vein as its predecessor as it features a percussive yet swooning production consisting of syrupy cascades of shimmering synth, Afropop-like percussion, finger snaps, tweeter and woofer rocking beats paired with Alexander’s breathy falsetto and layered vocal samples, and while being equally as buoyant and summery, the song manages to possesses an underlying, unresolved frustration. As Alexander explains in press notes. “To follow your dreams, you must figure out what they are. ‘Follow’ is about that  moment when you think you have it all figured to, only to realise you’re not one bit wiser. Those things you do, which you imagine will change everything . . . when all is said and done, afterwards you feel exactly the same.”

Alexander will be embarking on a handful of live dates to support the new album and it includes a October 18, 2017 stop at Sunnyvale. Check out the tour dates below.

 

Live Dates: 

9/7/17  Birthdays, London

10/18/17 Sunnyvale, NYC

10/23/17 Bootleg Theatre, LA

 

Blood Cultures is a rather mysterious New Jersey-based electro pop act that has begun to receive attention for a hazy and summery sound that nods at Washed Out and Neon Indian — and to some degree, the Cascine Records roster as you’ll hear on “Scenes From A Midnight Movie,” the opening track to the act’s soon-to-be released full-length debut Happy Birthday; but Blood Cultures sets themselves apart from a crowded field of contemporary purveyors of hazy, wistful and carefully crafted synth pop confections with an incredibly subtle touch — a regal yet mournful horn arrangement towards the song’s coda that reminds me of Tears For Fears‘ “Break It Down Again.”

Blood Cultures will be making their live debut at Rough Trade on August 9, 2017.